Road to US citizenship

A few months ago, around the end of May, I decided to put in my application to become a US citizen. There's a big long form you have to fill out, but it exists as a fillable PDF, which makes things a lot easier.

My path to becoming a US citizen was through having had permanent resident status for at least 5 years.

Based on my permanent resident application experience, I expected to have to wait at least a few months after sending in my application before hearing anything. The whole process of me becoming a permanent resident took almost 2.5 years, so I wasn't expecting the citizenship process to be a short one.

Much to my surprise, a couple weeks later I received a letter notifying me that my biometrics appointment (fingerprinting and photographing) would be in early July, a little over a month after sending in my application. Fortunately, I was able to get the biometrics stuff done here in Charleston instead of having to travel to Charlotte like last time.

I was even more surprised when just a couple of weeks after the biometrics appointment, I received a notice telling me I would have my interview today. Compared to my permanent resident application, this citizenship thing was moving at lightning speed.

Part of the process includes having to answer a number of civics questions. You have to answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly to pass. The questions aren't that difficult, but some of them are the kind that if you know too much, you might get them wrong.

I arrived at the USCIS office in plenty of time for my interview appointment. After going through security, I had a seat in a very crowded waiting room. It was much more crowded today than when I was there for my biometrics appointment. Turned out most of the people were there for their naturalization oath ceremony. There were about a dozen or so people plus their families there to take their oath to become a US citizen. It was a bit of a sneak preview for me.

After waiting for a little while, I was called back for my interview pretty much on time. I wasn't sure what to expect from the interview process, so I was a little bit nervous. After putting me under oath, the interview started with verifying my identity and then the civics test. The first question caught me a little off guard and took me a little bit to dig the answer out of my head, but after that I was good. After getting the first 6 questions correct, the test was over (no point in continuing if you only have to get 6/10 to pass).

After that, the rest of the interview consisted of going through the application form and being asked questions from the form, while I was under oath. A few questions about the various parts of theĀ Oath of Allegiance and if I understood what it meant, and that was the interview. I signed a bunch of forms, got a sheet of paper telling me I passed (Form N-652 Naturalization Interview Results) and went back out to the waiting area.

The people who had gone back for the naturalization oath ceremony were just starting to come out, and I saw them carrying their naturalization certificates and a little American flag. After a few minutes, I was given a sheet of paper telling me when to come back for my own naturalization oath ceremony.

So, in 6 weeks, on September 30, I will become a US citizen. We'll be going out that evening to celebrate somewhere, and you're welcome to join in. I'll be posting those plans later.